Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biden's Oddity

Michael Kinsley famously defined a gaffe as a politician saying something that is true. If that's so, then Joe Biden gaffed spectacularly on Sunday in suggesting that Barack Obama would face some type of international crisis shortly after his election.

The point is rather obvious. We would have an untested President coming from the - use the word that you want - less aggressive wing of American politics. There is every reason to believe that he would flinch and it's likely that someone will try to find out.

But Biden's statement that Obama will need his supporters' "help" because it intitially will not be evident that "we're right" is just odd. How can he know how they will respond to an undefined crisis and whether how that response will initially be perceived? Is he signalling that Obama plans a staunchly internationalist and less muscular approach to foreign threats? It's either that or more of Biden's peculiarity.

And we're supposed to be worried about Sarah Palin.

13 comments:

A Nonymouse said...

I've been arguing this point for weeks:

In 1961 in Vienna, Kennedy met Kruschev. Kruschev came away from that meeting with the impression that Kennedy was weak and could be intimidated. Two months later the Berlin Wall went up. Then Kruschev began shipping nuclear missiles to Cuba....So when Putin meets Obama...(without preconditions, of course)

Dad29 said...

First of all, Rick, the entire quote included the possibility of 'domestic' challenges.

That opens up all sorts of possibilities, right?

AnotherTosaVoter said...

You're focusing on this as a "gaffe" instead of one of the Vice Presidential candidates basically saying she can't wait to serve on Senate Committee and debate on the Senate floor.

Troubling.

Michael J. Mathias said...

Biden's line here is remarkably similar to what the Bush administration has been saying about Iraq for years--Just stand behind us. We'll be proved right eventually. Thousands of dead civilians later, we're all still waiting.

This was no gaffe. The GOP is running on Obama's inexperience. If he becomes president and there is a crisis, they will continue to attack him on those grounds. Biden is telling Democrats to get ready for something we all know is coming.

Brian said...

Basically saying, or saying?

Or maybe you're just full of it?

Clutch said...

"There is every reason to believe that he would flinch and it's likely that someone will try to find out."

Any argument for these claims?

gus said...

They haven't been attacking us.
So I guess they are afraid of McCain, because we all know that McCain is Bush.

Right?

The only problem I have with our safety is that a couple terrorists got their heads wet.

Bert said...

I am always bemused by this intent to paint Democrats as big pussies throughout history. In many cases I wish they were, because I don't tend to monger war as the right proudly does.

But university professors should be aware of the party of the presidents who were in power when we entered World War I (Wilson also threw troops into Mexico and the Dominican Republic), II, and Korea. Our presence in Vietnam changed to all out war under Johnson.

What party was the guy who pulled us out of Vietnam, I wonder? Out of Korea? From what party was the fellow who pulled the surviving Marines out of Beirut in 1983?

I do not remember ever reading that Krushchev (note spelling) was motivated in agreeing to the Berlin Wall by a desire to test or exploit perceived weakness by Kennedy. My sense (from folks like John Lewis Gaddis) is that Krushchev acquiesced reluctantly because millions of East Germans had been squeezing through the Berlin escape hatch for over 10 years to get to the West, and that damaging fact worked against Khrushchev's plans to repair Communism's image after Stalin.

Anonymous said...

The democrats haven't been having this much fun since Jimmy Carter ran for President and looked what happened when he was elected.

Are we ready for another Iranian type crisis and for the economy going completely down the drain?

Biden certainly would remember that.

Anonymous said...

I agree biden obamma ticket is very troubling... Obamma is just a smooth talking lawer (which we all know never tell the truth and say whatever to there own beneifit). I am a democrate and have been following this guy for some time now. Saying what ever the public forem he is at wants to hear. Then the next time saying the opposite. Now he say's SPREAD THE WEALTH wELL I FOR ONE AND SURE THINK MANY OTHERS ARE NOT GOING TO ALLOW ARE HARD WORK TO BE GIVEn TO THOSE WHO DON'T PAY FEDERAL TAX'S and wish to live off the government just because they are to lazy. I will be voting this time for John mccain. The Democrate party has let me down to mayn times and this takes the cake.....

A Nonymouse said...

BERT: Read James Reston's accounts re this meeting. Then get back to me...

Bert said...

Hi A N.

Getting back to you as requested. I was not really talking about "the meeting" which I take to mean the Vienna summit. I was talking about Khrushchev's reasons for approving the Berlin Wall in 1961, which I don't think had anything to do with Khrushchev's opinion of the structural integrity of JFK's spine.

I don't disagree that Khrushchev came away thinking that Kennedy was vulnerable to intimidation after the meeting in Vienna, and I have to finish this book I'm reading on your boys in Blackwater before I can get to Reston.

tom paine said...

"There is every reason to believe that he would flinch and it's likely that someone will try to find out."

Well, we can only hope that the next president doesn't "flinch" as did the current CIC after 9/11.

Obama may have that fatal flaw so many seem to fear (thinking) but I'm guessing that he would be able to figure out not to invade the wrong nation if our nation was attacked or had some other crisis.

And if he did finally invade I'm, also guessing he would have us out of there in less than 8 years (or in the case of Iraq maybe never) as did the current military whiz bang in the White House.